Taking Aim at Gun Violence: Rebuilding Community Education and Employment Pathways

by Rhonda Bryant

Apr 1, 2013

In the current national debate over gun control, the aspect that is not receiving enough attention is what may be the root cause of gun violence in most black communities -- concentrated poverty. Opportunities for vocational, educational, and emotional development need to be expanded to enable black males in concentrated poverty to thrive.
  • Based on trends in homicide rates, use of firearms, and population growth, it is projected that 68,631 black males will be killed by firearms between now and 2025.
  • Homicides are concentrated in cities that have concentrated poverty or pockets of high poverty within them.
  • Investments in youth, including in education and employment training, have declined significantly over the past few decades and contributed to higher gun violence.
  • Healthy communities offer cognitive, physical, social/emotional, cultural, and vocational development. Distressed communities need to be able to provide opportunities for these kinds of development.
  • To impact gun violence among youth in concentrated poverty, we need to: target federal and state investments to communities of concentrated poverty, build community capacity, re-engage and support struggling students and drop-outs, expand work opportunities, and promote healing from trauma and adversity.